Hizbullah's Triumph and Agony

(Daily Beast) Bruce Riedel - Few terrorist groups ever succeed in taking over a country. The Lebanese Shia group Hizbullah has done so this year. Hizbullah, or the Party of God, was created in 1982 by Syrian and Iranian intelligence agents. It rapidly gained support among the downtrodden Shia community which had been at the bottom of Lebanon's archaic political and economic system for decades. Hizbullah suicide bombers blew up the U.S. Marine and French paratrooper headquarters in October 1983, driving America and Europe out of Lebanon. Along the way Hizbullah held dozens of foreigners hostage, murdered a CIA station chief, hijacked airliners, and blew up Israeli targets as far away as Argentina. Without Syrian help, Hizbullah would never have become the monster it is today. Yet the next Syrian government is likely to be dominated by the Sunni majority, not the Alawi minority that the Assads come from. A Sunni Syrian regime, especially one heavily influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, will be a fierce enemy of Shia Hizbullah, particularly after it has been exposed as the assassin of the popular Lebanese Sunni former prime minister Hariri. The writer, a former longtime CIA officer, is a senior fellow in the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution.

2011-07-25 00:00:00

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